Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 90
Augustine, bishop of Hippo Regius (North Africa) writes to the presbyter Casulanus about fasting on Saturdays. Augustine, Letter 36, early 5th c.
Letter 36
Dilectissimo et desiderantissimo fratri et conpresbytero Casulano Augustinus in domino salutem.
1.  Nescio, unde sit factum, ut primis tuis litteris meas non redderem; non tamen tui contemptu id fecisse me scio; nam
et studiis tuis et ipso sermone delector teque in ista aetate iuuenali proficere in uerbo dei et abundare ad aedificationem
ecclesiae et opto et exhortor. Nunc uero scriptis tuis alteris sumptis, quibus tibi tandem aliquando responderi iure caritatis, in qua unum sumus, fraterno et aequissimo flagitas, differendum tuae dilectionis ulterius desiderium non putaui et inter artissimas occupationes meas suscepi isto me apud te debito absoluere.
3. [...] sed eo quo te mihi in tuis epistulis ostendis ingenio, quod in te donum dei admodum diligo ...
 A long discussion about the facultative character of fasting on Saturdays follows.
32. [...] Quapropter si consilio meo, praesertim quia in hac causa plus forte, quam satis fuit, te petente atque urguente locutus sum, libenter adquiescis, episcopo tuo in hac re noli resistere et, quod facit ipse, sine ullo scrupulo uel disceptatione sectare.
(ed. Goldbacher 1898: 31-32. 62)
Letter 36
To his most beloved brother and fellow presbyter, for whom we long, Casulanus, Augustine sends greetings in the Lord.
1. I do not know how it has happened that I have not replied to your first letter, and I do, nonetheless, know that I did not do that out of contempt for you. For I am very pleased by your studies and by your words themselves, and I desire that you make progress at this young age and abound in the word of God in order to build up the Church, and I exhort you to this. But now, having received your second letter, in which by the fraternal and most just law of love that unites us you demand that I at long last reply to you, I thought that I should not put off any longer the gratification of your desire that stems from love, and I have undertaken to free myself of my debt to you amid my most pressing occupations.
3. [...] But use that fine mind, by which you reveal yourself to me in your letter and which I love in you as God’s gift...
A long discussion about the facultative character of fasting on Saturdays follows.
32. [...] Hence, if you willingly accept my advice, especially since I have probably said more than enough on this topic, at your request and under pressure from you, do not oppose your bishop on this matter, and follow what he himself does without any worry or quarrel.
(trans. Teske 2001: 124. 142)


Casulanus was a young and well-educated presbyter, probably in Africa (this is indicated by Augustine's remark about the African customs in the last paragraph of the letter). Augustine did not respond to his first letter (asking for explanations about fasting on Saturdays), but he wrote a very long answer to the second letter of Casulanus.

Place of event:

  • Latin North Africa
  • Hippo Regius

About the source:

Author: Augustine of Hippo
Title: Letters, Epistulae
Origin: Hippo Regius (Latin North Africa)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The letters of Augustine of Hippo cover a wide range of topics: Holy Scripture, dogma and liturgy, philosophy, religious practice and everyday life. They range from full-scale theological treatises to small notes asking someone for a favour. The preserved corpus includes 308 letters, 252 written by Augustine, 49 that others sent to him and seven exchanged between third parties. 29 letters have been discovered only in the 20th century and edited in 1981 by Johannes Divjak; they are distinguished by the asterisk (*) after their number.
The preserved letters of Augustine extend over the period from his stay at Cassiciacum in 386 to his death in Hippo in 430.
In regard to this letter, I follow the dating given in PCBE, based on the paralels to other works of Augustine. Goldbacher puts the writing of the letter in the year 396/397.
A. Goldbacher ed., S. Augustini Hipponiensis Episcopi Epistulae, Pars 2, Ep. 31-123, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 34/2,  Prague-Vienna-Leipzig 1898.
Saint Augustine, Letters 1-99, trans. R. Teske, New York 2001.


Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Devotion - Fasting
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER90,